RPG Index: Single player Role Playing Games

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Warband Mods: Floris

Floris is the largest mod I've seen for Mount & Blade yet. It's a whopping 1.1 GB, and upon starting it up you will immediately notice changes everywhere you look. In essence, Floris is a patch that brings countless gameplay changes, fixes, and tweaks to Warband. Beware, once you get into this mod it's unlikely you will ever play the native Warband again. It's a massive improvement to the original.

An intense fight on the battlefield in Floris, a warband mod.
Mounted archery is useful for whittling down hordes of opponents.

Mount & Blade Warband Mod Floris Review

I expect you own Mount & Blade Warband if you have made it into this review. Floris is one of the most popular overhaul modifications for Warband.

If you want to download Floris, you can find it here: http://www.nexusmods.com/mbwarband/mods/3489/

Floris: The Good

  • All encompassing overhaul module, changes all aspects of Warband in a good way.
  • Can upgrade the graphics of the game considerably.
  • Makes all existing mechanics from Warband work better, such as tournaments, empire management and AI.

Floris: The Bad

  • Still doesn't solve issues such as plot progression and objectives.
  • As an overhaul mod, Floris isn't as game changing as Pendor or other Warband modules.

The native edition of Mount and Blade: Warband is a fantastic game. I bought it on sale from steam and regretted not buying it earlier at full price. However, it never quite feels like a finished game. It lacks a lot of much needed polish. There's no real objective or task that drives you. The AI is as simple as the peasants it is portraying.

Floris fixes all those issues. With hundreds of new additions to improve the standard of play, it feels more like an expansion than the original.

When you first make a character on Floris, you can see how much better everything is. Instead of blindly picking a backstory for your protagonist, it shows you the perks and stat bonuses you will gain from your choices. The graphical upgrade is also immediately noticeable. However, the best thing about Floris are the subtle changes. Bandits spawn more frequently and commonly merge groups together to form scary armies. Countless new weapons and shield skins to bring a wider variety to the battlefield. When entering a battle that's already in progress, you can join any side. There are also a few new quests that make it that little bit easier to farm reputation with lords and factions. It's astounding how so many minor tweaks can make Warband such a satisfying game.

Levelling up your character on Floris and Warband
Leveling up your character gives you a lot of choices.

Aside from the subtle and aesthetic adjustments in Floris, there are many gameplay overhaul changes too. Tournaments are completely different. There is a sliding difficulty bar that adjusts the teams and participants. Winning is based on taking down opponents instead of surviving rounds. It's actually a real challenge to beat a tournament on the higher difficulties. Winning a tournament can yield some fantastic rewards if you risk it on hard.

Despite the drastic changes made in Floris, the combat remains much the same. On the battlefield you can use a few new formations and tactics, but nothing really affects the core gameplay. The action is a little slow and clunky which I assume is for realism and to make it harder. Other than that, it's the same swashbuckling battlefield with some new animations.

One of the many taverns in Floris and Warband
Taverns are good for recruiting new men and picking up rumors.

Although the original Warband has a fairly diverse selections of troops to build and choose from, Floris is on another level. I'm nearing 50 hours on my recent playthrough, and I still haven't created a fully fledged army. Put it this way, the troop upgrade trees are almost 5 times bigger than native. Moreover, you can put the new variety of warriors to use in battle with new formations like shield wall and wedge. Once you develop your tactics skill enough, you can even program in commands for your army before deployment.

No part of play has been left untouched in Floris. There are comprehensive reports to reveal everything about your campaign from finances to kingdom relations. Once you capture a province and begin building your own empire, there are a wealth of new possibilities. Diplomacy is actually useful for keeping enemies off your precious soil. You can recruit new advisers to manage your cities while you're conquering new territory.

Strategically positioning units on a hill in Floris
I usually take the highest point I can find in every battle.

Out of the dozens of Mount & Blade overhaul mods that I have tried, Floris is tied for first place with Pendor. They both have strengths and weaknesses of their own, and are equally rewarding to play. There are two parts to any M&B campaign. Establishing your character, and then establishing your kingdom. Early on you are scrounging to get anything for your character, money, experience, renown. Sooner or later, you end up capturing a castle and reaching the second half of the game. Unfortunately, once you have your own faction and lands to defend, that's when Warband becomes dull. Once you have a couple of villages and cities to defend, it gets easy. There's no challenge. Luckily, Floris clears this issue up nicely. When you have your own kingdom, it's still playable. Can even be a little tough too, especially when an army of 900 bandits casually strolls into your territory.

Floris is what the original Warband should have been. I personally prefer Pendor for the extra challenge, but Floris is definitely the better mod overall. Especially for casual players. It's an overhaul where everything is better, so everyone should try it at least once. So if you have Warband, download Floris as soon as you can!

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